FDM Group, whose mission is to bring people and technology together, offers advice on entering the tech industry without a STEM degree.
As the tech industry continues to grow, the demand for tech skills has reached an all-time high. In the UK alone, job opportunities in tech have hit a 10-year high – and tech roles now make up 14% of all job positions in the country.
But as the competition increases for these roles, landing a tech job without a STEM degree may seem out of reach.
However, there are various ways to enter this space without a tech-related degree. Candidates from a number of academic backgrounds are acquiring new skills and emphasising their soft skills to land their dream jobs.
A spokesperson for FDM commented: “Entering the tech industry without a STEM degree may feel like you have an immediate barrier to entry, but this is far from the truth. There are a number of ways you can harness your skills to stand out in interviews and find a job that fits your skill set.
“To get started, look at any transferable skills you have – and the roles that are available to you. Individuals with non-STEM degrees often have highly developed communication skills, which are needed in every industry. In your interview, make sure you highlight your strengths, whether it’s communication, problem-solving, project management and most importantly, showcase your passion for technology and being a part of it.”
Here’s our best advice for starting your tech career—even if you don’t have a STEM degree.
Seek out non-technical positions
Similar to most industries, there are a large range of job specs across technology organisations. In most tech companies, it’s likely they’ll be in-demand roles for everything from marketing to operations, product, and social media – meaning there’s a lot of opportunity to enter this industry without needing another degree.
These types of roles allow you to play a pivotal role in the tech industry, without having direct technical skills. For example, if a company creates a great piece of technology, they also need a fantastic team to promote it. And if that sounds like something you’d be interested in, marketing or social media for tech may be a good place to start. Ultimately, it’s about aligning your current skill set with a position that interests you.
Be open to learning new skills
It’s never too late to learn new skills. If you are interested in entering a more technical position, such as programming or cyber security, it may be worthwhile adding some additional credentials or certifications to your CV. Fortunately, there are many great training programmes available, online or in-person, to help you expand your skill set and knowledge base, without needing to dedicate large amounts of time and money to a university degree.
From coding bootcamps to graduate training programmes, there are plenty of ways to prepare yourself for a career in tech.
Look for work experience
From data analysts to developers, the tech industry is vast – and it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what you want to do or know all the available options. Work experience is a great way to learn more, build up your CV, and figure out what interests you the most.
Having work experiences such as an internship or placement allows you to trial industries you may want to work in, as well as fine-tune your existing skills and gain new ones.
Then, when you apply for full-time roles, you’ll be able to showcase your experience on your CV and in the interview. If you want to get started, look at internship job openings and reach out to individuals on Linkedin who work in relevant organisations – and may be able to lend advice or give you a referral.
Build your network
Sometimes getting a job opportunity is just about getting your foot in the door. Building relationships can generate leads – increasing your chances of getting a job and streamlining the process. But, the chance to build your network lies in your hands.
Attending industry events and meetups can be a great place to start. This way you can meet like-minded people who are willing to lend advice, and likely have relevant contacts to put you in touch with or would be a useful resource themselves.
Other options include online groups that are available to join through social platforms, such as Facebook or Linkedin. Or you can reach out to individuals already in your network, whether it’s online or in person. This way you can increase your chances of getting an interview in this highly competitive industry.
Create a portfolio
Ultimately, employers want to see what you can do – rather than just know about your formal education. Presenting your work and experience in a unique, creative, and engaging way can be an effective strategy to stand out from the crowd and showcase your skills.
Creating a website or portfolio page to show your work and your accomplishments can be a brilliant way to tell a story while showing your abilities. For example, if you have no work experience in technical design, but can present something you made, you’re giving a first-hand example of the work you are capable of. In doing so, potential employers can have samples of your work, rather than just taking your word for it. Regardless of your skill set or experience, putting in the extra time and effort makes you all that much more memorable in the interview process.